India monitoring China’s nuclear base for 30 years
BEIJING: A Chinese scholar Zhang Shile expressed his anger and dismay over India’s attempt of monitoring China’s nuclear base.
Talking to APP here on Saturday, Zhang, a member of China Institute for International Strategic Studies expressed his displeasure over press report that India in collaboration with the United States had been monitoring China’s nuclear installations for 30 years.
The report was published by the People’s Daily today, quoting Indian Express. He said China reserves the right to protest against it with US and Indian governments.
The press report says that although there had been many contradictions in US-Indian relations in 1966, both sides easily come to a consensus on this issue keeping check on China’s nuclear capability. India also closely watched China’s nuclear tests.
According to the report, just as the whole world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of humans’ successful scaling Mt. Qomolangma, the Indian Express recently opened a special column to give detailed introduction to the new work titled “Spy on the Roof of the World” by Sydney Wignall, a well-known Indian mountaineer and former navy lieutenant commander.
This hero, who successfully scaled the Qomolangma peak for the first time on behalf of India, joined hands with a US policy analyst in unraveling to the world the little-known historical secrets under the snow mountain covered with dust.
Wignall disclosed in the book that when he led the Indian mountaineering team in a victorious return from Qomolangma Mountains in May 1965, as soon as they got down from the plane in Palam Airport, New Delhi, they were brought to a secluded place by Balbir Singh, director of Indian intelligence bureau.
Singh told Wignall that R N Kao (called the first ancestor of Indian intelligence circle), director of the Indian Aviation Research Center, was waiting behind the airplane to see him. R N Kao informed Wignall and seven other persons that they would go to the United States to carry out a task two weeks later.
On June 19, 1965, Wignall and his party secretly flew to New York to contact an official in charge of CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) affairs. Afterwards, they were sent by the American side to Alaska to conduct three-week secret training.
It was only then they came to know that the CIA of the United States asked them to help install a secret nuclear test monitoring instrument on the 8,598-meter high Kanchanjunga Peak on the Chinese border, so as to come to know the situation in China’s nuclear test base.
After Wignall and his party returned to India, they began, with the help of the US side, making preparations for the mountaineering expedition. The movement proceeded in a very covert manner, so even the then Indian chief of staff of the three services was not in the know.
As to the reason why the Qomolangma was not chosen for the mountaineering event, Wignall explained in the book that because the equipment provided by the US side was very heavy which, according to experts, was simply impossible to be carried up to the Qomolangma peak, leaving them no alternative but to take the second best.
After having made a trial, they discovered that even Kanchanjunga was too high to climb, so the two sides could not but once again change their plan, setting the target at the 7,817-meter Nanda Devi, India’s first peak along the Sino-Indian border.
The US policy analyst disclosed in the book that the idea of keeping watch on China through the Himalayas came from the then US air force chief of staff. In 1964, this US air force officer had a chat with a photographer for the book “Geography of the Country” who once climbed the Qomolangma.
The photographer never for a moment forgot the height of Qomolangma as he exclaimed: Standing on the Qomolangma, one can command the whole view of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
These words brought the following sudden idea on this officer: Why not install a monitoring equipment on top of the snow mountain so as to keep persistent watch on China’s nuclear base and its missile tests? The surveillance effect may be better than the reconnaissance satellite. At that time, China had succeeded in the test of its first atom bomb. US intelligence departments, after feeling astonished, were actively seeking counter-measures, therefore this US officer’s idea was welcomed by CIA. The US side accepted a Wignall’s proposal, gave up the idea of installing equipment on the mountain top and decided to put the equipment at a place 7,300 meters above sea level on the Nanda Devi peak. Later their actions proceeded fairly successfully.
According to Wignall’s reminiscences, a signal sent out from the equipment was received by the department concerned soon after it was successfully installed. These pieces of monitoring equipment did not suspend work until October 1997, several repairs were made during the intervening period. —APP